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Machinations by Ben Harris - Book Review

Official Review

July 10th, 2022 2:27am
Reviewed by Stephan Sloan
Machinations by Ben Harris is a prime example of how to take a forgotten or relatively unknown method and create a masterpiece out of it. The original methodology called the Trapdoor flap, created by Robert Neale was a mere curiosity.

It was expanded upon by a couple of others but languished in relative obscurity until Ben Harris stripped it down to nothingness and rebuilt it to become, what I feel is an amazing routine. The basic effect is that a performer takes out and displays a piece of paper or cardstock that has a little flap door cut out in the middle.

The participant holds on to the little door and whilst the performer gives his presentation the entire piece of paper is turned front for back even though the participant never let go of the flap. It's a topographical miracle. What Ben Harris did to catapult this effect from a mere curiosity to a performance piece is to add modern graphics and concepts. In machinations, there are a dozen contemporary presentations supported by tremendous digitally designed graphics.

Not only does the book feature well thought out and tolerable scripts but it also includes the printed gimmicks ready to go. If that wasn't enough, downloadable digital files are provided for you to print your own and scannable photos are included if you wanted to use a copy machine. With no slight of hand you can show how Harry Houdini escapes from a coil of chains wrapped around him.

Replacement gimmicks are also available very inexpensively. The gimmicks take up no more room in your pocket or wallet than a couple of folded bills. It's one of my favorite tricks to carry and it baffles everyone who sees it including me. I still can't figure out out Harry got out of those chains.

Available at your favorite Murphy’s Magic dealer

Product info for Machinations by Ben Harris - Book

Publisher: Vanishing Inc.
Average Rating:  (1)
Retail Price: $40.00
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Manufacturer's Description:

"The Trapdoor Card" is one of the most unforgettable, yet often overlooked, plots in card magic. Popularized by Martin Gardner and Bob Neale, this effect features a small card with a "door" cut out, just off-center. Someone is invited to hold the card by this makeshift tab. The magician is then able to turn the card inside out while it is IN the spectator's hands. This an unbelievable and impossible topological illusion that you can watch over and over and over again without ever figuring it out.

With Machinations, Ben Harris has taken "The Trapdoor Card" puzzle and pushed it to the limit. With over 20 new effects, Harris has broken this trick out of its card magic background to explore new routines with paper, ticket stubs, schematics, and more. The legendary Bob Neale even contributes his own amazing impromptu handling.

If you love origami or are looking for something unusual and memorable, Machinations is for you.

Learn mind-boggling effects like:

Zoo Ticket - A zoo ticket printed with donkey images changes into a ticket with penguin imagery.

The Wishing Paper - A spectator blows out the candles on a piece of paper in their hand which is then unfolded to reveal their "wish" on the other side.

Houdini's Escape - Help Houdini perform his world famous trapdoor escape with a "paper" padlock.

And more than 15 others!

Every effect in Machinations is easy to perform and requires almost no practice.

The book itself is a slim, handsome, and fully-illustrated, 100-page volume with detailed plans for each effect.

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